When a person is negligent, or commits a wrongful act which in turn causes the death of another human being, a wrongful death has occurred. Family members who have lost the companionship, financial support and emotional guidance of a loved one can file a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death can bring significant devastation to the lives of those family members left behind. While no one immediately thinks of money after losing a loved one, they are often wholly dependent upon the deceased for financial support. A Billings Wrongful Death Lawyer can help file a wrongful death claim. The goal of a wrongful death claim is to hold the person or entity who is responsible for the death, liable. The number one cause of wrongful deaths among those under the age of 35 is automobile accidents. Additional causes of wrongful deaths include:
Under Montana’s wrongful death statute, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased is under the age of 18, either of the child’s parents can file the wrongful death claim. Both parents can file a wrongful death claim together as well. If the child has no living parents, his or her legal guardian can file the wrongful death claim. Those who bring the wrongful death claim are required to bring the claim to court with the help of an attorney. Unlike a criminal case, liability is expressed in terms of monetary damages.
A Billings wrongful death claim is intended to compensate the estate or the surviving family members for losses suffered. The damages involved can be either economic or non-economic. Both types of damages can be recovered in a single wrongful death case. Economic damages are those which clearly have a dollar amount attached. In other words, there are pay stubs, bills or receipts to back up the claim. Economic damages can include lost wages, funeral expenses and medical bills. Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify, but are still real losses sustained by those left behind. Non-economic damages can include emotional distress, pain and suffering the deceased may have endured prior to his or her death. Also the loss of guidance and companionship faced by the survivors.
Every state sets certain time limits in which to file different types of claims. These time limits are known as statutes of limitations. In the state of Montana, a wrongful death claim must be filed within three years of the date the person died. Although if the death was the result of a criminal homicide, that time period is extended to ten years. If you fail to file your Billings wrongful death claim within the allowed time, you will be forever barred from bringing the claim at all.
When the death of your loved one is the result of reckless or negligent behavior, a wrongful death suit could be warranted. Negligence refers to whether a reasonable person or medical professional would have acted in the same manner under the same circumstances. There must be a duty of care owed. It must be shown that duty was breached. Their wrongful actions resulted in a death, and that there are damages stemming from that death. In other words, if a person is driving 60 mph in a 35 mph zone, speeds through the intersection on a red light and hits another person, killing that person. You could say that person had a duty to drive in a responsible manner, following traffic laws and signs. The person breached that duty, that breach caused a death, and the surviving family members have damages because of it.
The single most important decision surviving family members can make during this difficult time is the decision to speak to an experienced Billings wrongful death lawyer. Your Billings wrongful death lawyer can handle the complex matters associated with a wrongful death claim. This allows family members the time to heal without worrying about finances. The burden of attempting to file a wrongful death claim on your own is usually more than grieving families can deal with. Your Billings wrongful death lawyer’s goal will be to ease your financial and emotional burdens, protecting your rights and your future.
If you have lost a loved one because of another person’s negligence – we can help. While we know that no amount of compensation could ever replace the loss of your loved one, you and your family should not have to endure unnecessary financial burdens at this time.